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Thread: RIC Commemoration - Whose Bright Idea was this then?

  1. #1

    RIC Commemoration - Whose Bright Idea was this then?

    I was absolutely outraged that this was even contemplated in the first place and whoever came up with the idea should be identified and sacked if it was a civil servant or if an elected official voted out at the next election.

    Going to see my TD about it on Friday and boy will he get an earful.

    I had fully intended to show up at Dublin Castle with plenty of eggs at the ready and my protest banner and if ever any such "commemoration" is floated or held again I might be bringing more than just eggs. This is what happens when you put a former member of the disgraced and disbanded RUC in charge of our Gardai - they suddenly think it is 1899 again.

    The RIC were just your plain old enemy collaborators and traitors to their country and as for the Black and Tans and auxiliaries well they were just thugs and terrorists paid for by the oppressive state that thank God we are almost free of.

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  3. #3
    I’d suggest you still go to Dublin Castle. There, the Garda Memorial Garden commemorates Gardaí, DMP and RIC and the Garda Museum nearby displays RIC equipment and weapons.
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  4. #4
    A friend of mine who has studied and teaches Irish and American Military wrote this in response.....

    I for one am saddened by this cancellation, as a historian, but also as a proud Irishman. I'm also disheartened by the response of my fellow countrymen and women.

    Why you might ask? Because it signals the endurance of the romanticized, populist myths passed off as Irish history by those who somehow feel embarrassed about our country's historical realities. But even more so, because the real losers here are those Irish men, whose memory is now the victim of historical ignorance, and social media simplification.

    Many claim the Irish government made a critical mistake announcing this commemoration, the real mistake however, was one of clarification. Unfortunately, the government misjudged their audience. When it was announced that the ceremony would remember those Irishmen who served in the Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) and Dublin Metropolitan Police (DMP) during the War of Independence they forgot that to the lay Irish person, subjected to generations of romanticized myth, the RIC was synonymous with the Auxiliaries and the Black and Tans.

    The result was accusations that the Irish Government was essentially celebrating the memory of organisations that were the equivalent of the Waffen SS, or played a central role in a brutal 800 year occupation of rape and pillage, in some quarters referred to as the "Irish Holocaust." The comparison itself is fundamentally ahistorical.

    So, why, as an historian, and an Irishman, am I ashamed at this perversion and ignorance of our (and I stress) our collective story as a nation? Because it runs in contrast to the truth. Many who claimed the RIC oversaw an 800 year occupation ignore that it was established in 1820 as a civil police force. Those who claim it ensured food was exported from Ireland during the Famine ignore that most food exports were carried out at the insistence of Irish businessmen. Those who accuse the RIC of carrying out the many evictions during the Famine ignore that many evictions were at the behest of Irish landowners. Those that claim the RIC was an instrument of British subjugation ignore that the majority of rank and file policemen were Catholic, and mainly were members of the communities they policed, they were, Irish.

    During the War for Independence, because the RIC was seemingly incapable of maintaining order, the British sent the RIC Special Reserve (AKA The Black and Tans) and the Auxiliaries to Ireland - these were predominantly British, poorly trained, ill-disciplined veterans from the working class in need of employment. These two groups perpetrated the majority of atrocities against civilians during the War, but because they were tangentially connected to the RIC - the body of Irishmen who chose to police their communities were, then, and apparently, now tarred with the brush of guilt by association. What is forgotten is that many RIC men assisted the IRA in fighting the British forces, many looked the other way, many resigned due to their beliefs in Irish independence - many died for it. What is forgotten that Eamon "Ned" Broy, the first head of An Garda Siochana, and a double-agent who helped Michael Collins was a member of the DMP - I had the honor of meeting his daughter once. While not every member of the RIC was a hero, not every member deserves the label of traitor either, and the historical evidence suggests that the overwhelming majority of the RIC took no part in atrocities during the War. The ceremony was for the Irish of the RIC and the DMP - not the Tans or the Auxiliaries. But, it is perhaps too late to let truth get in the way of a good story. The Government made a mistake, but the Irish people, the keyboard historians and those who claim proud awareness of "Irish history" made a bigger one, they preferred romantic ignorance to critical thinking.

    Many in Ireland have consciously chosen to ignore the realities of our history. For decades those Irishmen who fought in France during the First World War in the belief that their participation would earn eventual Irish independence were written out of our history. We preferred to remember hundreds of years of epic struggle, with the nation finally rising up in Easter 1916. The fact that 200,000 Irishmen fought in the trenches while barely 2,000 rose up during the "popular" Rising was conveniently forgotten. That Dubliners spat on the Easter rebels as they were marched away as prisoners was ignored, as was the fact that most of the British soldiers that put down the Rising were Irish themselves. Thankfully, with the commemorations of the First World War it seemed that, finally, the Irish nation was showing real interest in coming to terms with, and acknowledging their past. Sadly, recent days have proved that ignorance is bliss. And stunningly, Irish historians, instead of carrying out their civic obligation to objectively educate, have remained either largely silent, or have distanced themselves from the initiative to save their own hides. Shame on them.

    History is complex, wars even more so. Chances are, for many of those who slated these commemorations, their ancestors may have been in the RIC, the DMP, the British Army or another "tool" of subjugation. I would invite them to find out; they might find the romantic narrative promulgated by the masses most recently to be of little comfort when they learn the truth; though a history book might help. Through mass mobilization, the average Irishman in history, has, yet again, been screwed over.

    For those who will undoubtedly pepper me, and this post for what I have said here, I say this; I am a proud Irishman, I had the honor to serve in the Defence Forces, and I am an historian. While many are reluctant to stand against the tide on social media, I am not. Do your worst. But I strongly suggest you read some history first.

    It is however, high time, that Ireland really took ownership of its history, with pride in the good things, acknowledgement of the bad, and awareness of the realities; warts and all.

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    Any chance of a link to where that was originally posted Dubal?

    I couldnt agree more with it, would like to post it elsewhere.

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    What a load of horseshit!

    I can see no way in the world why thugs who burned Cork city among many other outrages backed up by their RIC collaborators could ever in any way be honoured by this Irish state. It would be a direct slap in the face to all those men and women who fought and died for our partial independence.

    I see no difference between this and lets say Germany honouring the SS Guards and administrators at Dachau or Treblinka on the basis that they were only ordinary hard working men and women and were only doing their jobs and following orders.

    If my TD actually even attempts to explain this by using any of the above horseshit in the morning some furniture will get thrown across his room.
    Last edited by Alfaguy; 09-01-2020 at 06:56 PM.

  7. #7
    Cant move forward unless you are able to look back.

    Alfa, purely out of interest where do you stand on the civil war?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by mikerd4 View Post
    Cant move forward unless you are able to look back.

    Alfa, purely out of interest where do you stand on the civil war?
    Well obviously I am staunchly anti treaty. We should have held out for complete independence back then.

  9. #9
    Senior Member natnif's Avatar
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    Nov 2012
    People just love a reason to get worked up. AG - I'm curious. Did you read the above post or just decide it was wrong as it didn't agree with your ideas? I don't mean that to come across as inflamatory but I can't understand how you could read a well reasoned argument like that above and just dismiss it so readily.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Alfaguy View Post
    Well obviously I am staunchly anti treaty. We should have held out for complete independence back then.
    If we had a United Ireland in the morning, how would you suggest we handle the significant proportion of our new unified population who currently identify as British?

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